Archives for January 2015

Getting Back Into It

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Happy 2015! January is not always the greatest month is it? It is sometimes hard to come down from the holidays and get back into the swing of things, especially with going back to work, extra cold weather (sans pretty lights), a few extra holiday pounds and some Christmas debt. Couple that with the often high expectations we place on ourselves to go after some big resolutions and we often end up feeling a little let down by January. Oh January. *sigh* I guess there are some perks to January though. For one, it’s my birthday month (yay!), secondly, the days are only getting longer at this point, and thirdly, setting those resolutions is a great way to reflect on what we want to work on within ourselves.

I’m here to tell you to that it’s okay to reflect on what we want to change. However, I think we can all benefit from avoiding unrealistic and quantifiable goals that put high amounts of pressure on us as human beings. Yes, I do know that creating measurable goals is an important way to make sure you achieve them (S.M.A.R.T. goal setting anyone?). When considering New Years resolutions however, we often focus on the very big picture and forget about, well, life.

I studied a lot about goal setting as an undergraduate (I even wrote my thesis on it) and one thing that I did learn was that being committed to a goal will definitely help you get there. Ask yourself, why do I want this? What will it take for me to reach it? Is this attainable? Think about what is is that you want from your goal, the meaning behind it all. You want to lose weight? As yourself, deep down, why? Hold on to that as you work your way towards your goal, remind yourself of it, repeat it to yourself.

I also learned that if a goal is challenging you are more likely to succeed. This one is simple to me, if it’s easy, why would you do it? However, we also have to remember here, if it’s too challenging, you won’t do it either. It has to be challenging enough to spark your desire to achieve but not so hard that you are bound to fail. This is where I think it’s important to let go of those big quantifiable goals. I think we can easily get caught up in a goal that is too challenging and then feel like we are letting ourselves down and give up. Measuring your goals works, but keep those measurable parts of it in smaller pieces that you know you can reach. It is much more scary to say “I’m going to loose 25 pounds this year” than it is to say “I’m going to try and lose 2 pounds every month”

I myself, have been trying to practice this. After I ran the half marathon in the fall I told myself “in 2015 I am going to run Around the Bay in 2:40 and a full marathon in under 4:00”. But life has happened. I had a very stressful job for a few months where I worked alone on a very big project, I fell off the bandwagon of running regularly. I started feeling bad for myself and these goals slipped away.

As December came to an end, I asked myself “why did I set these goals?” Was it for bragging rights? no. So why did the times matter so much to me? I decided to cut myself some slack, I am just human. As the New Year rolled around, I thought of a way rephrase these resolutions. I told myself, I will run these races, and I will do the best I can. I want to do this because they are both a challenge to me, I will have to work hard towards them, and I want to achieve them, all the while getting back in healthy running shape and feeling better emotionally.

“Do the best I can” stuck with me as New Year’s Eve approached. I was already two weeks behind in training for Around the Bay, but I figured if I ever was going to reach that goal, I needed to break it down into smaller measurable bits, not huge unrealistic big picture goals. “I am going for a run so I can see how my body feels training in the cold” was my goal for that week. And I did just that, I laced up my sneakers and went for a run in -14 degree weather. And it felt good (sort of) because I did that small thing, and kept that “why?” in my head the entire time instead of the “I’m going to run ATB in 2:40”

Saying goodbye to 2014!

Saying goodbye to 2014!

January has been an interesting month for me. My contract ended in December and I have found myself with a lot of free time. It has been really nice to spend the time cooking healthy recipes, really thinking about what job I’d like to do next, networking, wedding planning and just generally being able to enjoy my time. It has also been a great time to reflect on what I want to do this year. I have really spent some time thinking about that “do my best” revelation that came to me in December. I am learning each day to let that into my life.

My mom is a teacher and the picture of the mug at the top is a gift that I gave to her because of this story:

“My daughter gave me this cup as a Christmas gift. Seemingly I say this a lot. This is my motto, this is what I try to live each day. She also mentioned my “story” of doing your best. In my kindergarten writing workshop lessons I do a lesson on doing your best, not giving up, not doing something else because you can’t do something very well, just give it your all and do your best, even if it is not perfect. I model the lesson and try to draw a picture of the story I want to write about. I can’t draw. A few years ago I had a wonderful E.A., come into my classroom to work with a small group of children who had difficulties working in a large space with many children. When I saw the pictures she drew for them I was wowed with her talent and told her that I couldn’t draw. She said to me, “Yes, I know. The students told me you do your best”. I love that story because it means the children learned their lesson they also learned that we are all not perfect, even their teacher, but we can still do our best.”

While I am trying to get back into a healthy routine of running and eating well, I am trying to keep this all in mind. Running has been difficult with this bitter cold. Today I got out for a tempo run and couldn’t run at my tempo pace at all. I nearly burst into tears on the sidewalk because I was so frustrated. Once I finally found my pace, I hit a few big patches of ice and kept having to stop and walk. I took a deep breath and told myself “it’s okay, I am just going to try my best here today”. Tomorrow may be better, it may be worse, but I set a goal to run a race and I will run that race and I will do the best I can. It’s all about being adaptable and allowing yourself to be human.

As you too are getting back into this January, just remind yourself to do your best.

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Chilly but beautiful run today